Tag: ladies rugby

Ladies vs Royston

So here we are last game of what has been a truly remarkable season  … Park were travelling to Royston for a game that was to prove a Landmark for the Huns and the 18 mths of sheer hard work and commitment.

On this Sunny Sunday on the windy Therfield Heath … we were to play Royston a team that put us to the sword early in the season albeit with an ex professional having a huge say that day …. Still whoever won today could finish second providing Hitchin beat Haringey by a large score …

Clearly though having already lost to them this season and playing away this was not to be easy .. with 2 Bad injuries picked up in training to Amy and Faye who have been regulars all season and with a few girls having other thing on it’s a measure of this group of powerful women that we still had a full squad to travel with …… this is awesome I cannot explain it any other way.

Having prepared a small speech prior to the start ,there was a good atmosphere and we had warmed up nicely .. I delivered the request to MAKE IT COUNT … every pass , every tackle … give your heart and soul , if you get knocked down get back up .   if you feel pain tell yourself you’re not in pain .. if they are tough be tougher …… Make TODAY COUNT…  .. .

Well from the kick off Sophie King collects and runs from her own 22 to be caught out on the line in Royston’s 22 and from here for the next 15- mins the game doesn’t move .. with the forwards P ,Abbie and Emma ,Cath and Shania all putting in a shift,  Daisy from 8  and Hannah Thomas who was outstanding all day setting great platforms but we just were perhaps trying too hard and not taking some very good opportunities to move the ball wide where we are really dangerous.

We had been knocking on the door now for some time and whilst Roystons defence was resolute it was narrow and we just needed to move it … finally realizing this we put a good phase together and the ball goes out to the backs with good hands finally creating the space

For Sophie King to score out wide… This was no more than we deserved but  we had taken a lot out of ourselves with Ellen and Fresh having put themselves about the fullback was also having a good game stopping them both after clean breaks …

Royston have had a good season and they have a good set of forwards who play a certain way specifically their no 8 who was always a threat .. we had dropped off a bit and Royston sensed the opportunity ..however they were suffering from a similar fate to us … I think if they had moved the ball

Wide quicker we might have had some problems but the Stockwood stone wall stood firm and apart from once when they crashed over in the corner only to be held up … with a few minutes to go to halftime we managed to exit our 22 and with great hands Emma was through only to react to a call to pass and whilst Hannah was there in support she didn’t really expect the pass and knocked it on… by this time Debbie and Freya were on P and Lee-Anne taking a rest ….

The forwards managed to create one more platform and the ball was moved quickly and with space Sophie M is so dangerous and accelerated away to score under the posts .. with Tracey converting it was 12-0 and no more than we deserved for the incredible defensive display of the previous 10 mins .

Half time and chance to regroup .. nothing is finished at half time ..but we had put a real shift in and with few options in the forwards to freshen up they were going to need to roll up their sleeves and dig in .. We did decide however to move Trace back into her traditional flanker role Sophie K to fly half and Kimberley into outside center .. and we go again ….

Royston hit hard early clearly trying to get back into the game and despite some solid tackling their impressive East Midlands player forced her way through  and despite some last ditch defence  crashed over with 2  Huns on her back .. in fairness no more than she deserved as she had kept them in the game .

With a very good conversion being made this was now interesting   12-7 ….

Asking for another 10 percent .. Ellen had now been replaced with Amber  and Ellen had been fantastic especially playing with her toe nail half off ….really gritty and Charlie for Katie … with Daisy off as well time to stand up Ladies …. Fresh decided it was time for her to put a mark on this game as we seized to wrestle the advantage back .. and only she seems to find these small gaps to burst through and so she did scoring under the posts for Tracey to convert and at 19-7 a 2 score difference …

However Royston weren’t finished and from a slight lack of concentration a quick penalty was taken they got some go forward from  yes you guessed it their very good 8, they then managed to pass it out and their winger who had very little to do finished well in the corner for an instant reply and at 19-12 with 20 minutes to go it was anybody’s game …. Making a switch pulling Debs out to outside center and P back on at Flanker it was now the moments we had asked for the hearts on the line that extra 10% from somewhere …. We have been unbeaten since Xmas and I had put that down to a MENTAL strength as a unit that I don’t see in other teams .. we are never beaten and always play to the final whistle ,only the league winners match us in this respect and as the 2 very close games against them proved …. I just felt it would be ok and this final 15 minutes was perfect as first Debs brushing people aside gets us into a good position ..eventually though the pressure was too much and with some lovely hands and support work it goes wide and Sophie ..who still had a lot to do finished in style cutting back inside beating 3 defenders to score her second of the day …This seemed to be too much for Royston now as we really started to play some good rugby and with Hannah looking to have nearly scored on 3 occasions to be pushed back the ball was re-cycled and Debs crashed over from Center  at 29-12 and with 3 minutes to play ..Royston had one last go but the Parks Stone wall stood firm and that’s how it finished ….

With the news coming through that Hitchin had beaten Haringey by 83-7 .. this was truly remarkable turnaround .. Haringey were second and unbeaten   when we played them just before Xmas … we truly believed we should have won that game and didn’t and with the terrific performance against Hitchin which a lot of people felt if we didn’t just pip them a draw would have been a fairer result..gave us the belief that we were a match for anybody.  All we could do was win our games and see what happened .. Haringey lost 4 of their last 5 we won all ours and ended up points the same .. however the points difference was in our favour and so 2nd PLACE ….

I have run out of adjectives to describe how we have played … 18 mths ago we started to play in a Division which had experienced Teams playing we have in that time gone from having big points to nil losses to finishing Runners UP it is INCREDIBLE

Ladies vs Kilburn Cosmos

So on the complete opposite of a day to our previous run out we set off for Kilburn Cosmos.. a team we always enjoy visiting a truly lovely bunch who give everything on the field and are great hosts after .
The Great News is that Kilburn have been successful with their recruitment drive and had a squad of 17 for the first time in ages and they were really looking forward to playing a “proper “ game of Rugby

We have had a tremendous commitment again this season and with 21 on the traditional Coach journey all was set .

Now with one of our greatest supporters celebrating her 60th Birthday the previous eve .. .I was worried about what condition we would all be in ..but they were all there and on time and in good spirit so no worries …

With the wind and the drizzle pretty much set it was a little cooler than the mid summers day of the previous Sunday ..but not bad conditions for the game .

We kicked off and it was clear the energy levels weren’t quite where we wanted them to be ..whilst we played pretty much the first 20 minutes in Kilburn’s half … Kilburn had a lot of the ball … but our defence was pretty good and they were going nowhere despite having possession … Debs made a couple of Breaks , Daisy and Abbie were trying but things weren’t quite coming off and we weren’t using the backs and as previously mentioned energy levels were low we were a bit passive …just not functioning quite right …. Finally moving the ball quickly Debs and Sophie combined to put Sophie M away and she finished under the posts 5-0… So it was clear we needed to create a platform move the ball wide and both Ellen and Sophie would be too quick … Having been a bit grumpy about what I was watching, for the next 15 mins or so we dominated and whilst not firing on all cylinders it was much better .. Sophie K made a great break to score and Sophie M scored twice more with Tracey converting 2 out of the 3 suddenly we were 24-0 up .
With P having a good influence when she came on .. and Ally and Chloe getting a run out it was good that the whole squad was being used … Red had a bit of a knock so Sophie K dropped to Fullback and Kimberly also came on and with Daisy also needing a break pretty much the whole squad was on …
The last 2 mins of the Half Kilburn managed to get inside our 5 metre line and despite repelling wave after wave of attack .. with Lee-Anne sin binned for penalty top -up .. Kilburn finally broke the resistance and scored a deserved try for their efforts .. although not really threatening they had played some good rugby in the first half. Despite leading 24-7 at half time its a measure of our expectation levels that we knew we could play better and with a change at scrum half with Charlie being replaced by Claire ..Charlie had had a pretty good game in fairness .. with Sophie M and Ellen taking a break it was Cath Swindell to come on to get all 21 good game time …

Playing with 14 for the first 7 mins of the second half we just picked the energy up a bit … with a few decisions going against Amy which wound her up a bit and that had the effect of some big hits going in putting us on the front fit and with Sophie K joining the line from fullback to score in the corner despite 3 Kilburn players trying to stop her it was a positive start to the second half .. from then on however it returned a bit to the pattern of the first half although possession stats were more 50-50 .. the game was played entirely in Kilburn’s 22 .. they never really threatened despite a lot of hard work … the good thing for us was that our inexperienced players Ally , Chloe , Cath Swindell , Kimberley ,Charlie and Claire …. got some pretty decent game time and all stood up to make their tackles and be generally in the right place … with Daisy returning and making some good yardage .. we still seemed reticent to move the ball wide but with 5 mins or so to go Daisy crashed over with 3 or 4 hanging on for the final score in the corner and at 34-7 complete what appears a comfortable win …. I wouldn’t describe it as that because Kilburn never give up and will become harder to play if they can keep the squad together.

However for us its now 4 wins on the bounce scoring 129 pts and conceding just 31 …. since Christmas apart from Hitchin who have won every game our form would put us second in the League and indeed having despatched the 2nd placed team last week ..its clear our huge improvement has now given us some consistency at a decent level .. and its a sign, whilst the coach was a bit moany … even after a heavy night the mental strength was there to get the job done

2 Games left this season … Home to Tabard and away to Royston .. if we win both of those then we can finish second if other results go our way … if we win both the games we can finish 3rd … however we have lost to both these teams this season so its no easy task ….. but you know what … I believe you can do it …….c’mon the Park

Match Report: Ladies vs Haringey

Stockwood Ladies entertained Haringey in the latest league game on what was a really hot Sunday afternoon in February ….

Park have been excellent since the turn of the year and especially against the top teams starting to show some real quality .

Haringey are second in the League and Park are chasing them down and today would be key if we were going to achieve this .

With London Road starting to become a fortress Park started with real intensity and in those first 10 minutes set the platform , with the forwards working really hard Fran getting her hands on the ball a lot on the fringes ,Shania getting to every breakdown first and with the terrible twosome of Abbie and Amy terrorising Haringeys forwards, Park were getting plenty of the ball . Losing possession in Haringeys 22 the oppos 10 kicked to clear her lines … with Annie sitting deep at fullback she ran on to the ball it bounced kindly straight into her hands ..and like an arrow she set off down the line , nobody got anywhere near to her and she ran under the posts for the first score and with Tracey converting 7-0 and deserved … .

Haringey are not second in the league by chance .. they raised themselves and attacked with pick and go on the fringes only to be met with great defence from Lee-Anne and Fay .. stand in Captain Daisy was making ground in counter and Haringey were struggling to get clean ball.

Park had got themselves into a bit of an arm wrestle and perhaps on occasions didn’t release the ball out wide to the dangerous Sophieees ..ie there was 2 of them … but the off loading in contact was excellent and the clean breaks started to appear and the support play was excellent .. Fran , Abbie , P ..Sophie K .. all made clean breaks and looked to have scored only for Haringey to scramble back and hold the ball up over the line … by this time Debs was having an impact and when we didn’t have the ball the tackling from Park was excellent Kimberley and Sophie K particularly standing out.. Finally Park got the second break through when P was caught yds short of the line but Kimberley was there in support to finish it off and score her first try for the club.

At Half time it was 12-0 ..but credit to Haringey as they defensively kept themselves in the game without threatening too much in attack.

In the second half the big Park squad started to bear fruit as the finishers cane on to do just that and with the offloading and support play being exceptional Park started to run away with it scores from Amy ( whole squad maul driven over the line) Claire at scrum half ..league debut … Fresh , Sophie on the wing and Finally Amber who finished off a sweeping move that took us from our own 22 to score under the posts and with Tracey Converting 3 of the tries a truly superb performance by everybody …. Haringey never gave up and in between the last 2 scores recorded a consolation of their own … final score 43-5 to Park and a real statement of intent ..

We have come so far in 18mths and I have said it many times but we now can see a real strength in depth of squad … with the Captain and previous Captain away ,Hannah on East Midlands Duty and regular wing Ellen ill …. We are in a good place …… all down to you girls remember that …

Next week Kilburn … lets keep it going …. Truly magnificent

Ladies v Hampstead Ladies

On a nigh on perfect day for Rugby .. soft underfoot and not to cold or to hot … the New Year started with a bang at London Road .

Stockwoods Ladies were entertaining Hampstead in the return fixture in what is the Business end of the season …. Having defeated Hampstead by a final second try earlier in the season they were here for revenge.

Park had been playing really well just before Xmas and it was feared that perhaps the break might stop that momentum now we were going to see.

The early exchanges were fierce and Parks scrum was put under pressure but with Amy and Abbie ,Freya and P .. tackling and counter rucking despite not having much possession we were keeping Hampstead at bay …

Both teams were playing with a good structure clearly this was going to be a tough game with two evenly matched sides and it was Hampstead that struck the first blow ,having won possession in our 22 we were just starting to exert pressure of our own when Hampstead intercepted a pass and ran in to score under the posts ..with the conversion made after 10 mins it was 0-7 …

Parks response was swift winning the ball creating a platform finally managing to go through hands out to Sophie on the wing to run past 3 or 4 Hampstead players to score also under the posts .. to tie the scores up …

Katie our normal Captain and scrum half was injured and Daisy had taken up the reigns of Captain for the day with Sophie King playing at scrum half for the first time ever and her first full game for a year or so these 2 in particular were having influential games.

Hampstead however continued with their intensity and after a kick over the top Annie collected and retuned to be met by Hampsteads impressive and solid 12 who hit her hard in the tackle … Annie had to be replaced .. Lisa for the second match in a row dropped to fullback duties and the returning Debs came on at outside Centre … Sophie (winger) also had to have a break as a dead leg meant she was suffering a bit. Chloe replaced her on the wing.

The squad was being tested .. with the terrible twosome ably supported by Emma and now Lee-anne and Hannah – Park were starting to get some ascendancy .

Hampstead were still dangerous though and the 9 and 12 combined to create an overload .. Ellen was about to tackle the Hampstead player when she accidentally collided with Cath … and this left a 2 on 1 with Lisa and a dummy pass from the Hampstead girl sent her over under the posts again to go 14-7 up ..

We talked about needing another 10% if possible ..we were starting to get more possession in the forwards and Debs was getting line breaks and Daisy made several forages forward needing 4 or 5 of the opposition to stop her .

We were putting some phases together … from a penalty 5 mtrs out first Abbie then Amy then Daisy all tried to break the line ..the good thing was we kept the ball alive and recycled brilliantly … finally Tracey dived for the line to score as the ref had somehow tripped over and whilst doing a magnificent summersault still blew his whistle for the score … quite impressive … missing the conversion it was 12-14 with 6 mins or so to go to half time …

At half-time we talked about being patient as we were now getting more and more possession and they were starting to drop back off our intensity .. keep playing don’t panic game isn’t won at half-time … with Sophie (winger) returning to the fold pretty much everybody had been involved .. Ally was still due a run out …with Annie not being able to return there was a good chance she might be needed. Anyway, we made a couple of handling errors early and found ourselves defending again but managed to snuff anything out without too much difficulty ..we started to get some real go forward and with some good hands from Tracey , Fresh and Debs put Sophie away once more and she finished it well as she still had some work to do .. in the corner.

With our noses in front 17-14 .. we started to dominate the game a bit more with Freya returning our SQUAD was really making a difference especially as Hampstead started to lose some ….. however they were not giving up and possibly one of the moments of the game when from good field position Hampsteads 12 darted for the line getting past 2 defenders ….I didn’t see who did tackle her as she dived to score but whoever it was did enough to dislodge the ball from her grasp and she knocked on …. From this moment on Park pushed Hampstead back and from a break from Daisy the offloads kept the ball

Alive pretty much everybody at some stage offloaded FAY , P , Fresh and with Debs crashing onto it at the end to score was a truly sensational score … at 22-14 this gave us some breathing space … We really did dominate possession from here Sophie and Ellen looked like they had combined to score again but some desperate defending kept us out …

However we were not to be denied another score and with another great team move Fresh found the space she always does and slid through under the posts and with the conversion being made 29-14 … with Sophie King needing a break … Ally got to run out albeit 6 mins or so and Chloe with her textbook set back from a tackle ..made sure that all the squad got some minutes …

The most impressive thing about this result is the growing mental strength of these girls and the patience to trust in their skill set to see them through … we didn’t look panicked or stressed at any stage there was a clear inside belief we can win this game whatever they throw at us and so this proved …..

Home again next week … Oh when the Park !!

Defence work
Good forward work and then sooooooo close!
good attempt at break out play
try!
try!
try!
try!
and for good measure!

Ladies go down to Marlow

This Sunday saw the Ladies of Stockwood Park begin their first major League campaign against the Ladies of Marlow .. who would no doubt be a well drilled side having had more experience and time together.
Buoyed by the last performance there was a lot of anticipation and having 16 available we already had a point before we started …. Unfortunately Marlow had only 12 so we had to play 12 aside.. .However with the subs situation we hoped it would help us as the game went on.
We started well with Aimee coming in at 10 and Sophie moving out to Inside Centre and with Eleanor and Ellen outside her this was as strong a back line as we could put out … with the space on the pitch this looked like an advantage, as the game went into 10 mins having had to defend for a period we finally managed to release the backs from our own 5 metre line what followed was a brilliant try with support and pace and no little skill with the ball changing hands 3 or 4 times for Aimee to finally touch down .. what was her first try in a match ….and what a fantastic start to the League Campaign ..

Marlow reacted strongly and had a very elusive 10 of their own who has obviously played a lot of Rugby and potentially at a higher level because she started pulling strings and running the game … Marlow attacked down the blind side and were thwarted a couple of times by super Trace .. playing at fullback for the first time … but eventually their possession told and equalised in the corner … It was here that we showed our lack of experience against their 10 who again attacked at the blind twice more to score and with one conversion and a further score on the other side the wind was taken out of our sails a bit. Really we should have been able to spot what they were going to do and counter –act it.
Eleanor was trying her hardest and her tackle count was mounting .. .we were a little disappointing in the forwards not reaching the levels of the previous game and getting over the ball quickly enough to give us the momentum and possession we changed it about a bit with Cath and Fay coming on and making a little bit of a difference .. Katie ended up being in the maul to often and Eleanor, because she was tackling ,so left the backline a little disjointed.

These things happen in the heat of battle .. and as we play more games this will happen less and less .. The second half we gave very little in attack and when we did have the opportunity we made poor choices and lost possession when a chance to score was there … with the unfortunate injury to Sophie putting a real dampner on the day .. and as of writing I don’t know how she is and I know we all wish her well and I would like to add how unfair these things are sometimes as she was becoming a very good player in a quick time .. I just hope it was nothing serious … I felt we lost our intensity a bit … nobody gave up everybody kept trying .. but we weren’t quick enough in line speed and a bit passive at the breakdown .. with the lineout misfiring as well we just couldn’t get enough possession to let Ellen and Eleanor attack as we know they can.
So first game is a loss but that is irrelevant we are progressing there are so many positives .. a squad of sufficient numbers with other players to come back , Amy ,Shania making solid debuts ..Eleanor, Sophie ,Aimee and Ellen showing real intent in attack .. Tracey playing a strange role for her and doing a great job .. Katie all over the game and organising as best she can Fran and Danii forming a good partnership .. Ally getting better every time she plays …. and solid performances from Cath and Fay off the bench …

The good news is you were all disappointed and that is a really good sign for the journey we are on … hold tight ladies it will come good in the end.

Videos are only available if you are a member and logged in.